Yoni Steams – also known as vaginal steams, v-steams, or “bajos” – are used all over the world to help clear the womb and promote reproductive health. In Africa, Asia, and throughout the Americas, they have been part of traditional healing for as long as plants have been our medicine.
Steaming has become a Thing, and there’s a lot of fuss in the marketplace these days. You can get professional steaming support, training and certification, special equipment, and a bazillion proprietary herbal blends. It’s gotten complicated.
I want you to know that steaming is simple. You don’t need any special equipment, and you probably have some fine yoni steaming herbs in your spice cabinet.
Steaming is like artful cooking… it’s not exact. You start with a recipe, feel into it, find what you like, and change it to make it your own.
It’s a delightful, delicious practice to relax over a steaming pot of aromatic herbs. My friend Bryn says, “It’s like I’m having tea with my vagina.” You can steam alone in silence or sit with friends and talk. As you wish.
How I learned:
I learned all about steaming from my mentor Dr. Rosita Arvigo, in Belize. She learned from her teachers Don Elijio Panti and Miss Hortense Robinson, who learned from theirs, and so on. I am honored to be a part of this lineage.
Rosita says, “It doesn’t really matter what the problem is with the uterus; the Vaginal steam is the classic Central America Treatment. If anybody complains about any problem with the uterus, everybody says ‘have you done your vaginal steam?’, just like we would say ‘are you drinking enough water?’”
How it Helps:
Along with Abdominal Massage, yoni steams increase circulation in the pelvic bowl and help clear the uterus of any old, indurated tissue that may be lingering there.
Moist heat and the essential oils from your chosen plants easily penetrate the tissue of the perineum and vagina, traveling from there (we believe) to the cervix and the uterus. These potent herbs help cleanse the uterine walls. Relaxing heat calms the nervous system and promotes healing in this way as well.
In my practice, we use yoni steams to support a happy vagina, a healthy flow, a robust lining, and postpartum healing.
- For Fertility Support: if you are currently open to conception, steam at the end of your period and again during your fertile pre-ovulatory days. This will help develop a robust endometrium, promote vaginal juiciness and fertile fluid.
- For Painful Periods: if you are not intent on conception at this time, do a few steams before your period is due to help release the lining and ease your cramps.
- If you spot at the end of your cycle, steam on the spotting days to help it finish.
- For Postpartum Healing: one steam, 5-7 days postpartum, as lochia begins to lessen and change from red to pink. Then, steam once a week until bleeding has stopped completely to clear the uterus and aid perineal healing. Caution: don’t sit too long in the early days. Make sure your set-up is comfortable, and you don’t feel much pressure on your perineum.
For Menopause: Rosita says steam three times a year to prevent any residue from building up, particularly in the first year after menstruation stops. Steams are also helpful for vaginal dryness.
You will need:
- Herbs – 1cup total
- A large pot with a lid
- A wooden or plastic chair
- A towel
- A blanket
- An intention
Herbs for clearing and cleansing: Here are your cooking spices! Basil, Oregano and Rosemary are highly aromatic and astringent. Add some red rose petals if you can and calendula or marigold.
Herbs for a juicy vagina: use soothing herbs like lavender and calendula, and mucilaginous ones like marshmallow or slippery elm. Red clover and hibiscus are also helpful for fertile fluid.
How to Steam:
- Thank the plants for their help, and place one cup of the dried herbs in a gallon or so of boiling water. (My largest pot only holds 3 quarts, and it works just fine.) Cover the pot, turn the heat down and let the herbs simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them steep – covered – for 10 minutes.
- Place the covered pot on the floor in front of your chair.
- Put a folded towel on the chair to cushion your butt.
- Undress from the waist down and keep your socks on to contain the heat.
- Wrap yourself in the blanket.
- Stand over the covered pot and arrange your steam tent.
- Sit on the edge of the chair – sit bones firmly planted. Legs wide. Yoni open and available to the steam.
- Move the lid to uncover the pot just a little until sufficient steam fills the tent. Open the lid a little further, and then further again as the tent cools until the lid is off completely.
- You’re done when you feel done, and the heat is fading. About 20 minutes. Stay wrapped up in the blanket for a while, and keep warm for the rest of the day. Keep your socks on!
A word about intention: Your steaming time is an opportunity to connect with yourself and your womb on all levels. You’ve got her attention. She’ll be listening. Make your intention for healing clear and add the power of prayer to your steam. Thank the plants for helping you in this process.
Though steaming is safe and fairly straightforward, there are a few don’ts.
- Don’t steam with essential oils. They are way too strong!
- Don’t steam with an IUD or a baby in your womb.
- If you bleed heavily with your period, steam only in the few days after it ends.
- Don’t steam with an active pelvic infection or outbreak. The heat will aggravate it.
- Don’t steam if you have a fever. (Who would want to?)
- Use only herbs you know to be acceptable for steaming, or stick with the ones I’ve mentioned.
If you need guidance, please email me or find an abdominal therapy practitioner in your area.
A few years ago, my friend Sali Mcintyre opened my eyes to the ritual power of yoni steams. She suggests steaming as part of closure when a sexual relationship has ended. Or as part of healing from sexual trauma. Postpartum steams can ritually mark the end of pregnancy and transition to motherhood. What about after a daughter’s first menses?
Tami Kent, the author of Wild Feminine, says our pelvic bowls are the seat of our creative power. She also says they can be the repository for all kinds of emotional gunk. Tami recommends clearing your bowl regularly. What better way than steaming with this intention?
One last thing: those special yoni steam stools are pretty nifty and may be worth the investment eventually.
Rosita Arvigo on Yoni Steams: https://www.soulvibrance.com/vibrant-living/yoni-steam
The Abdominal Therapy Collective: We offer personal and professional classes in abdominal massage and other traditional healing practices.
Rebecca’s Apothecary – Boulder, CO. They have my basic recipe on file. Visit them in Boulder, or place your order online, and they will gladly ship to you.
Womb Medicine: the art of yoni steaming for women’s health, by Sali Mcintyre. Sali is a soulful midwife and Abdominal Therapist in Australia.